Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo yesterday vehemently belied reports circulated by his detractors that he is facing another set of 11 counts of criminal cases before the Sandiganbayan allegedly filed by Negros Oriental Board Member Jessica Villanueva.
Degamo said these are just resurrected and recycled issues, which the Court of Appeals had already decided in his favor after reversing the Ombudsman suspension order last year.
Degamo said these are practically the same cases filed against him by June Vincent Gaudan before the 2013 elections and which had hibernated for two years and resurrected before the elections in 2016.
After the elections last year came the dismissal order of the Ombudsman until the reversal order of the CA, finding Degamo guilty only of simple misconduct for reasons that the governor had acted in good faith in disbursing the P480 million calamity fund and with no criminal intent whatsoever.
Provincial Legal Officer Richard Enojo said these cases are an exact duplication of cases filed by Gaudan, which have been decided by the CA.
Enojo said he is optimistic the criminal aspect will suffer the same fate with that of the administrative case because it has the same funding and the same issue.
He said the resolution of the Gaudan case came after the elections, earlier than the resolution of the case filed by Villanueva.
Degamo said he implemented the projects “to save lives” as he described it, after the Department of Budget and Management issued a notice of cash allocation.
The appellate court said the governor has no criminal intent as the projects were implemented in good faith because the governor was forced to act the way he did because of the crisis at that time.
Enojo said there can be no criminal intent and bad faith because with the 50 percent calamity fund, the accomplishment of 64 percent was more than what the money can accomplish.
He also denied the supposed conspiracy theory and giving due advantage to the contractors because if that was the case, the contractors would have also stopped the project when the report came out that the Special Allotment Release Order was withdrawn by the DBM.
The Ombudsman has found probable cause to indict Degamo for 11 counts of violation of Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”, for the illegal disbursement of calamity funds used to pay for the province’s infrastructure projects in 2012, the Philippine News Agency reported yesterday.
Also facing 11 counts of graft are provincial treasurer Danilo Mendez, provincial accountant Teodorico Reyes, and provincial engineer Franco Alpuerto. Mendez and Reyes were also indicted for 11 counts of falsification of public documents.
The Ombudsman also ordered the filing of graft charges against Alejandro Lim Jr. of Lim General Contractor Corporation; Mark Anthony Clemente – CTC Builders and Supplies Inc.; Danny Chan – AJAN Jeada Inc.; Wilfredo Chu – Bigfoot Construction and Supply; Farouk Macarambon of Fiat Construction Services; Maribel Ranola of Legazpi Premium Development Corporation; and Ricardo Abriol Santos of Richmark Construction and Supply.
Enojo said in the case of Bigfoot, the project was completed 100 percent.
Degamo assured Negrenses he will remain strong and unfazed because these are politically motivated and his detractors only wanted to destroy his name. He said he will not allow vested interests to rule the province.
Degamo said he believes the case filed by Villanueva will not succeed. Enojo said they have already submitted their reply to these cases. He also announced the possibility of filing a case against the complainant to clear the name of Degamo.*JG